When I tell my students that writing any information that can be traced back to you is not allowed in IELTS Exams, the first question they ask me is “should I write my name on IELTS Letters?” Students look for samples of letters and other IELTS Tasks online, and they often see vague, western names at the end of the letter. When students don’t see typical Indian or non-Western names in the samples, they get confused. “Are real names allowed in IELTS?” Since we are not allowed to write real addresses, are we allowed to write real names?
IELTS Letters can be formal, informal, or semi-formal. All three require you to end your letter differently. Not just in terms of salutations, but also how you write your name.
If you are writing a formal letter, you may have to write a letter without knowing the reader’s name. Since those letters would be formal, you must write your full name. You should write your full name. It can look something like:
Semi-formal letters in IELTS are usually written to an acquaintance, like a friend of a friend, or someone you don’t know very well but cannot be outright formal, like a manager or a new neighbour. For semi-formal situations, you can just write your surname’s initials. For example:
We write informal letters to people we know and care about, such as parents or friends or even relatives. So you can end those letters with your first name as well. For instance:
At any point, do not write names as ABC or XYZ. This rule applies to the writer’s as well as the recipient’s name.
Of course, you can write your name or choose to have a standard fictional name that you use for every IELTS Letter. Some choose to do that so that they don’t have to think about these small things in the exam itself. They practice their Writing Task 1 with these names so that it flows smoothly in the actual exam. The choice is yours.